Antidepressants are often used to treat clinical depressions. However, often the number of side effects associated with anti-depression drugs forces patients to withdraw depression medication. Although, advancement in research is reducing the number of adverse reactions of new anti-depressants, but one cannot rule out complete lack of side effects. Before going for an anti-depression drug therapy, you should be aware of the possible side effects caused by these drugs.
Types of antidepressants
There are four popular categories of anti-depression drugs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI).
Side effects of SSRI
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most popular class of anti-depression drugs currently prescribed by physicians. It is believed that depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. SSRI drugs work by raising the level of serotonin in the brain, relieving the patient from depressive mood. Serotonin is believed to control mood swings of individuals and any decline in its level below normal might be responsible for depression. Besides regulating moods, serotonin also regulates digestion, pain and mental clarity. Changing the level of serotonin with the aid of SSRI might adversely affect a large number of other body functions.
People on SSRI medication are often found to suffer from sexual problems, nausea, drowsiness and sleeping difficulties. Often most of these side effects subside within a few weeks of consumption of these drugs, but occasionally the side effects might persist, becoming worse in rare circumstances.
Among patients above 65 years, the possibility of suffering from bone loss, fractures and risks of fall increases. The withdrawal syndrome is also severe among the elderly patients when they stop taking these drugs.
Side effects of atypical antidepressants
The antidepressants belonging to this class works on a number of neurotransmitters. Depending on the component of the drug, they might work on an individual brain chemical, such as norepinephrine or dopamine, or on a group of chemicals including serotonin. The side effects of this class of drugs might cause nausea, obesity, drowsiness, fatigue, nervousness, dry mouth and blurred vision.
Tricyclic antidepressants and MAOI
These medicines are older anti-depression drugs with more severe side effects than the newer class of antidepressants. They are prescribed only when the new drugs fail to produce the desired affect.
The worsening of side effects might even raise suicide risks. The possibility of suicide is more severe during the first two months of treatment. If one observes that the level of anxiety, insomnia and hostility is rising, then the patient should be provided with immediate medical help.